What is the Territory’s budget position

BP2 Budget Strategy and Outlook

Table 1.1 provides a summary of the key fiscal measures in the 2021-22 Budget – the latest estimate for the current year, the new budget for 2021‑22 and the forward estimates for the following three years.

BP2, Table 1.1: Key fiscal indicators

 RevisedBudget Forward estimate
  $M $M $M $M $M
General government sector       
Net operating balance - 1 240 - 497 - 536 - 480 - 570
Non financial public sector     
Fiscal balance - 1 873 - 1 356 -1 215 - 807 - 629
Net debt 7 662 9 001 10 163 10 866 11 405
Net debt to revenue (%) 111 122 146 155 166

The general government sector incorporates agency departments, government business divisions, and other entities (such as statutory corporations), that are controlled by government and mainly engaged in the production of goods and or services. That are mainly non-market in nature and are largely for the collective consumption of the community.

The net operating balance represents total revenue less total expenses. It encompasses the full cost of providing government services, and therefore is a good measure of the sustainability of government’s fiscal position over time.

As this measure excludes the effects of revaluations and other changes in the volume of assets and liabilities, it demonstrates the fiscal impact of government’s actions that are largely within government’s control.

The Territory Government reports the fiscal balance measure at the non-financial public sector level, which includes the general government sector and public non-financial corporations, such as the Power and Water Corporation, Territory Generation and Jacana Energy.

The fiscal balance (also known as net lending/borrowing), reflects the net operating balance (excluding depreciation) plus net capital investments. This measure is a good indicator of the Territory’s call on financial markets. A fiscal surplus indicates that government is saving enough to finance all its investment spending. A fiscal deficit indicates that government’s level of investment is greater than its level of savings.

Net debt equals the sum of deposits held, advances received and borrowing, minus the sum of cash and deposits, advances paid and investments, loans and placements. This measure is used to assess the overall strength of the Territory’s fiscal position, and its ability to pay its debts as and when they fall due.

Readers can also go to Chapter 4: Fiscal strategy statement, which outlines the government’s fiscal strategy and assesses budget projections against the fiscal strategy objectives and targets.